That should sum up my thoughts on this new publication from Erwin W. Lutzer, senior pastor of Moody Church, and Moody Publishers. Three sittings and 48 hours later I have now finished this stroke of genius. Lutzer writes, "I believe it is disingenuous when political opponents here in the United States call those who disagree with them "Nazis" or "Hitler.
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History A Radio Interview with Erwin Lutzer Kevin Swanson: We are going to be looking at the pattern of Nazi Germany today on this edition of the Generations Radio broadcast, because there are some similarities between the rise of the Third Reich and what is going on in our country today. To talk about this very important subject I have Erwin Lutzer on the line with me.
Erwin Lutzer, welcome to the Generations broadcast. Folks can schedule that into their calendars right now. We are looking forward to you coming out to Denver. Kevin Swanson: You compare America to s and s Germany. Are there clear comparisons? Erwin Lutzer: Oh yes, there are. But what I talk about in my book are cultural streams. What Hitler tried to do is to scrub the state clean of any Christian influence. He never discouraged people from going to church.
Erwin Lutzer: And then of course he had certain rules. One of our heroes is Niemoller. Abuse of pulpit is something like hate-speech laws today. And today you can see that; you can see the alienation of the Christian worldview. What our mayor said was that these are not Chicago values. Can you even imagine that? Christian bookstores sell books that are opposed to same-sex marriage. So you can see that we are in a period of transition where Christianity is being marginalized and pushed into a private life-style within the walls of the church, which is another way to say, into irrelevancy.
Kevin Swanson: What was the moral condition of Germany in the s just prior to the Nazis taking over? Does that have any bearing on this? Hitler was able to do mighty miracles in stimulating the German economy. I remember a German who told me that there was such a sense of euphoria regarding Hitler that people were willing to override their conscience. And those who stood against it lost their lives. Kevin Swanson: It sounds to me like people started seeing the state as the savior and Adolf Hitler as the messiah, as though he would step in and save them from the economic turmoil and trials of the day.
Erwin Lutzer: And you know, at first it appeared as if he had. In other words, he stimulated the economy. People were willing to work fifteen and twenty hours a day for the sake of the state.
And unfortunately they followed the state right over the cliff. Kevin Swanson: Do you think Americans today look to the state as their savior as those at the time of the Nazis did?
Dependence upon the state is very important in America and of growing importance. And so what you have is a society where the government begins to limit freedom because the government does all of these things for you. Kevin Swanson: In your book you talk about two kinds of churches in Germany at that time: the liberal churches and the pietistic churches.
You find problems with both of them. Erwin Lutzer: The liberal churches had given up the gospel, and they were so nationalistic that they actually began to promote Hitler. The pietists were very interesting. They held on to the gospel and they wanted to have warm hearts of obedience to Christ—which they did—and they are to be commended.
But they also believed that the church should not get involved in all of these political issues. So in my book I tell the story, which is true, of a train that ran close to one of these pietistic churches. They knew when the train was coming, so they made sure that they were singing songs when the train rumbled by so as to not think about it, because they knew those trains were filled with Jews on their way to a concentration camp. We think that the church failed and we would have done something different.
We have also become paralyzed in our churches. Kevin Swanson: I guess we should take opportunities to intervene, whether that be from the pulpit or through politics, when we have those opportunities.
Can you think of ways that Christians might act right now while they yet have the opportunity? Erwin Lutzer: I think first in the area of education. We need to instruct our children and combat the indoctrination that is happening in the schools. We have to remember we have a very precious treasure, the fact that Jesus died for us as sinners. We need to give that message of hope, forgiveness, cleansing, and deliverance to a nation that is confused and has lost its way. And I think we have an obligation to instruct our people both biblically as to what the Bible says and, wherever possible, to prescribe a course of action.
Thank you so much, Erwin Lutzer, for joining us on Generations. We appreciate you. Erwin Lutzer: Thank you and God bless you. Kevin has 35 years of experience in the homeschooling movement and serves as the Director of Generations with Vision — a ministry he founded to strengthen homeschool families around the country. For the complete version of this interview go to GenerationsRadio.
Generations Radio is a daily radio broadcast covering many everyday issues from the perspective of a biblical worldview and within the framework of a relational model of living: worldview and relationships. This publication is free to any who request it.
Donations are gladly accepted. To add or remove your name from this mailing list, please do so by emailing mail generationswithvision. Generations is published by Generations with Vision. Box , Elizabeth, CO Volume 3. Used by permission of Kevin Swanson. July 22, Share this post.
Erwin W. Lutzer
When a Nation Forgets God